By Little Pro on 2016-01-08 Views: Update:2017-01-18
German Water Hazard Class (WGK) sometimes is also called German Water Endangerment Class (WGK). This is often included in the section 15 of SDSs. German's Federal Water Act requires that facilities handling substances that are hazardous to waters must be built and operated in a way that water bodies are protected from pollutions. To this end, the Water Hazard Class (WGK) of a substance or mixture has to be determined based on the Administrative Regulation on the Classification of Substances Hazardous to Waters (VwVwS; amended in 2005), communicated and documented.
There are three water hazard classes (WGK) for chemicals under the German Federal Water Act. Non-hazardous to waters can only be claimed if there is sufficient data to support it.
In this article, we will show you how to determine the Water Hazard Class (WGK) for substances and mixtures and how to document them in a compliant way. To start with, you need to be aware that there are 4 important annexes attached to the VwVwS. We will need to refer to them frequently.
For substances listed in annex I or II, you could directly refer to the WGK given in annex I or II. For substances that are not listed in annex I or II, you need to carry out your own classifications, document them and submit the documentation-form (annex VI) to the Office of Documentation and Information on Substances Hazardous to Waters at the Federal Environment Agency.
For an unlisted substance, you could easily determine its WGK in three steps:
Step I: Obtain the following hazard data at least:
Step II: Determine evaluation points for the substance's health hazards and environmental hazards according to table 1 and table 2.
Please note that if any data is missing, conservative default value shall be used. You shall always use the most sensitive value.
All mixtures have to be self-classified. The WGK of a mixture should be determined either by using a calculating rule and the WGK of each component of the mixture or on the basis of experimental test data generated with the mixture.
To determine the WGK for a mixture, you need to obtain its composition info and determine the WGK for each component first. Then the mass fractions of the individual components are added up by their WGK, and the WGK of the mixture is then determined according to the table below.
Example 1: If a mixture contains less than 5% of WGK 2 components and no WGK 3 components, this will classify the mixture as WGK 1;
Example 2: If a WGK 3 component with a concentration of 0.05% is added to a substance non-hazardous to waters, the mixture is classified as WGK 1. If the substance contains this component as an impurity resulting from the production process, then it will be classified as "non-hazardous to waters".
Components are taken into account if their fraction exceeds the following thresholds:
Reminder 1: The self-classifications of mixtures do not need to be submitted to the Federal Environment Agency. However, the documentation (recommended template) of the said classifications must be made available to the local competent authority of the federal state of Germany where the facility is located.
Reminder 2: An important difference between WGK-classification and other classification systems is that substances currently insufficiently investigated, not jet classified or not chemically identified are regarded as highly hazardous to waters (WGK 3) for reasons of precaution.
Now go and calculate your own WGK!! Share this page if you like it.